Christoph Ort

Dr.

Group Leader and Head of Department Urban Water Management, Eawag, Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology (Eawag), DroMedArio, Wastewater-Based Epidemiology

Zurich, Switzerland

About

Christoph Ort is an environmental engineer at the Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology. In numerous interdisciplinary projects he advanced surveillance of wastewater in sewers for both environmental and public health applications. “Wastewater analysis at the community level offers great opportunity to complement – not replace – in an independent manner other epidemiological indicators at the level of individuals.”

Wastewater-Based Epidemiology

With the Covid-19 pandemic, wastewater-based epidemiology has received a boost globally. While wastewater cannot reveal any information on individuals – which is a great advantage in terms of privacy issues – it contains a wealth of information at the community level. The study of relevant chemicals (i.e. excreted pharmaceutical or drug residues) and pathogens at the influent to a wastewater treatment plant allows anonymous and near real-time assessment of trends for drug consumption, diseases and health-conditions.